Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Spotlight On...Jenna Langbaum

Name: Jenna Langbaum    
Hometown: Rye, NY

Education: BA in Theater and Creative Writing from Hamilton College

Favorite Credits: Grease (Sandy), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Margaret),

Why theater?: Theater offers poignant insight into human nature and emotions that only exist with a live audience.  There is a certain thrill to the live theater experience over other mediums of art.

Tell us about The Night of Blue and Salt: The Night of Blue and Salt follows WIFE and MAN, a couple whose young love rusts into a seemingly hopeless fate.  WIFE, full of magic and manic, longs to be a writer, often speaking in lines of Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf.  MAN, full of knowledge and numbers becomes a surgeon, speaking mostly in medical jargon and statistics.  When WIFE and MAN endure the tragedy of losing their baby girl, their lack of communication is ultimately their greatest downfall. Written in the style of Theatre of the Absurd and riddled with dark humor, WIFE gradually dismantles the shackles of domesticity and a loveless marriage to be the dramatic feminist ingenue she always longed to be.

What inspired you to write The Night of Blue and Salt: At the time, I was reading a lot of Theatre of the Absurd for my classes and was acting in A Dream Play by Caryl Churchill. I started with this vision of a woman in a fur coat smoking outside her pool who lost her child.  I knew the tragedy of losing of her child would provoke mental illness.  From there, I began researching mental illness, and I found it difficult understanding the medical jargon.  Through this research, I discovered her husband.  He would speak in medical jargon and she would speak in poetry and they would just barely communicate.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love absurdist theater.  I think that’s why I love reality TV (see below) because it is a sort of hyperbolic version of daily life. I love love stories. Also, I am always reading and seeking poetry – Richard Siken, Billy Collins, Sylvia Plath, Elise Cowen, etc.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would love to work with Caryl Churchill on theater.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Old Times by Harold Pinter

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would choose Emmy Rossum. The movie would be called The girl in the pink coat. I have an amazing hot pink wool coat that seems to exemplify me well.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I would love to see the original Spring Awakening performed for the first time in the early 1900’s.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Reality shows (Real Housewives of Everywhere)

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be ____?: Writing cheesy romantic novels

What’s up next?: Hopefully something great!!